Throughout my travels, I have soaked up the sun on many of Florida’s beaches. From Clearwater to Panama City Beach and as far south as Key West, I thought I had seen everything that Florida beach destinations have to offer… until I recently visited wheelchair accessible Jacksonville for the first time!
I’m not sure why it took me so long to get to Jacksonville, but I am thrilled that I now know how amazing of a destination it is. Within just five days, Jacksonville became one of my new favorite places and I absolutely cannot wait to return and experience even more of it.
Whether I was eating delicious food, rolling through beautiful botanical gardens, visiting museums, seeing live theatre, or just lounging on the beach, I had a remarkable trip. And I loved that Jacksonville, Florida offers so much for wheelchair users to enjoy!
If you are looking for wheelchair accessible Jacksonville attractions, places to eat, or where to stay, I’ve got you covered with this accessible travel guide to Jacksonville! Keep reading and start planning your own accessible getaway to the spectacular city of Jacksonville, Florida.
Wheelchair Accessible Jacksonville FL Attractions & Things to Do
Check out my short video below of accessible things to do in Jacksonville –
Enjoy the beach
You simply can’t visit the beautiful destination of Jacksonville Beach and not spend some time soaking up the sun while watching the waves come in. Luckily, Jacksonville Beach is open to everyone, no matter what their abilities are, so if you’re wanting to spend time on the beach as a wheelchair user, it’s totally possible!
Jacksonville Beach has multiple ramped areas that go to the sand. You can find access ramps at 5th Avenue North, Beach Blvd and 1st Street, and 6th Avenue South. These locations have ramps to the sand, but you will still need a beach wheelchair to get out on the sand. Beach wheelchairs are available at the Jacksonville Beach Lifeguard Station and you can call 904-249-9141 to reserve your beach wheelchair in advance of your visit and coordinate where you’ll get it.
Another place that you can visit for a great day at the beach is Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park. This park is about a 15 minute drive from Jacksonville Beach, where the access ramps I mentioned above are, but the park offers alternative accessibility options and it only costs $5 per vehicle to enter the park.
Once inside Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park, you can find wheelchair-friendly ramps to the sand and even beach access mats from parking lots 8 and 11 (just follow the signs toward these parking lots). On the day that I visited, it was incredibly windy, so the sand was covering the majority of the beach access mats, but hopefully you will experience less wind during your visit and you’ll be able to roll out on the sand.
There are multiple places to enjoy the beach as a wheelchair user in Jacksonville, and I was so happy to see that. Whether you want to stay in Jacksonville Beach or venture a few minutes away to Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park, you’re sure to have a fun time beaching it up!
Visit UNF Seaside Sculpture Park
If you’re a fan of art, be sure to visit the UNF Seaside Sculpture Park in Jacksonville Beach. It’s located right across the street from Oceanfront Park and makes for a fun, quick stop.
Every year or so, five students from the University of North Florida are chosen to create sculptures to display in this park. The students are extremely talented and the sculptures that were on display when I visited were wonderful to see.
The UNF Seaside Sculpture Park is rather small with only five sculptures, but it is a fun addition to any Jacksonville itinerary. And as you can see, you can certainly get some nice photos of the sculptures to take back home with you.
Learn about the area at the Beaches Museum
Since this was my first time ever in Jacksonville, I was really curious about the history of the area and decided to visit the Beaches Museum. This museum is completely wheelchair accessible and did a fantastic job of detailing the history of this part of Florida.
Our visit at the Beaches Museum started by watching a short film and then we spent about 40 minutes touring the museum. The entirety of the museum is on the lower level and easily wheelchair accessible. The staff was super friendly and happily answered all of our questions as well.
After our museum visit, we headed outside to the History Park, where a museum guide showed us a steam locomotive from 1911. There are a variety of other buildings in the History Park as well, including a post office from 1903 and a foreman’s house, all of which are wheelchair accessible.
The Beaches Museum is completely free to visit, but they do accept donations if you’re able. The museum is open every day of the week except for Monday.
See a show at Alhambra Theatre
For the most fun night out in Jacksonville, Florida, head to the Alhambra Theatre! I am a huge fan of live theatre and love checking out local venues whenever I travel, and the Alhambra Theatre was one of the best theatres I have visited in a long time.
Not only can you watch a fantastic show at the Alhambra Theatre, you can also enjoy a delicious dinner before the show begins. The dinner menu changes for each show, but on the night that I visited and saw “Legally Blonde: The Musical”, I had salad, teriyaki glazed chicken with broccolini, and banana cream pie for dessert. Everything was delicious!
The Alhambra Theatre has eight different shows per year and each show runs for about a month (or longer), so there’s a good chance that a show will be playing while you’re in Jacksonville. Be sure to book tickets in advance though, as shows frequently sell out. During the 2024 season, some of the Alhambra Theatre’s shows include “Oklahoma”, “Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”, “The Wedding Singer”, “A Christmas Story”, and more.
I was really impressed with the wheelchair accessibility of the theatre as well. I had a perfect view of the stage from our upper level seats and could easily see all of the action happening in “Legally Blonde: The Musical”. It was a fun night at one of the longest-running professional dinner theaters in the U.S!
Take in the views from Jacksonville Beach Pier
For the best views of Jacksonville Beach, we headed to the Jacksonville Beach Pier. The pier is nearly a quarter of a mile long and whether you want to try your hand at fishing or just take in the views of the Atlantic Ocean, you’re sure to enjoy rolling out on the pier.
The Jacksonville Beach Pier was surprisingly smooth to roll on, despite being wooden. I rolled all the way to the end of the pier and loved looking out at the ocean. There were even lowered accessible viewing sections and an accessible picnic table on the pier.
The pier is open every day of the week from 6am-11pm. For a day pass, it only costs $2 per person, so this is a great budget-friendly activity to enjoy while in Jacksonville.
Wander around Jacksonville Arboretum & Botanical Gardens
Jacksonville, Florida has some incredibly beautiful spaces and one of my favorites was the Jacksonville Arboretum & Botanical Gardens. It’s open every day of the week from 8am-5pm and encompasses 120+ acres, so there is certainly a lot to see.
Throughout the gardens, there are seven trails, but the most wheelchair accessible one is the Lake Loop Trail. This trail is fully paved and 0.3 miles long. It circles Lake Ray, so there are gorgeous views for the entirety of the trail. I also loved that the trail was so wide, making it easy for many people of all abilities to enjoy Lake Loop Trail.
There are accessible picnic tables toward the entrance of the gardens (and the very beginning of Lake Loop Trail). You can also find accessible restrooms from the parking lot.
I spent a little over an hour exploring Jacksonville Arboretum & Botanical Gardens, but it’d be a nice place to spend much longer if you have the time. It’s a beautiful place to enjoy the outdoors in Jacksonville!
Shop and dine at Beaches Town Center
If you want to do some shopping and dining while on vacation (and who doesn’t?!), visit Beaches Town Center in Neptune Beach. Beaches Town Center is just a 15-20 minute drive from Jacksonville Beach and only 12 miles from downtown Jacksonville, and it’s a fun place to spend a few hours. There are numerous boutiques and restaurants spread across a few blocks in this pedestrian-friendly area.
I started my time at Beaches Town Center by grabbing a drink at the world famous Lemon Bar. This bar has actually been named the #1 beach bar in the country by several publications, and I really enjoyed my “Banana Hammock” drink. It had vodka, banana liqueur, and pina colada with pineapple, orange juice, and soda in it. Yum!
Next, I rolled around Beaches Town Center for a while and visited some of the shops. Every shop that I saw was wheelchair accessible, so I was happy about that. I love bookstores, so my favorite shop was The BookMark. It’s an independent community bookstore and definitely worth checking out, but there are many other shops to pop in as well.
There are a variety of restaurants to choose from at Beaches Town Center. I had a delicious dinner at North Beach Fish Camp and would highly recommend it. North Beach Fish Camp does have seafood primarily, but there are other options if seafood isn’t your thing. This was hands-down one of my favorite meals in the Jacksonville area!
Spend your Saturday at Riverside Arts Market
Spending time at local markets is one of my favorite things to do when traveling. It gives you a chance to shop for unique gifts and there’s nothing better than being able to meet and chat with locals. While in Jacksonville, I spent some time at Riverside Arts Market and did just that!
Every Saturday from 10am-3pm (rain or shine), you can enjoy the Riverside Arts Market. It takes place under the Fuller Warren Bridge and the terrain is paved, but it can be a bit steep in some areas. I didn’t have any issues in my powered wheelchair though.
There are dozens of vendors at Riverside Arts Market. Whether you’re looking for arts & crafts, produce, food trucks, or something else, you’re sure to find it here. I was so impressed with how large the market was. Honestly, it was one of the best markets I’ve been to… and I’ve visited a lot of markets throughout my travels!
If you’ll be in Jacksonville on a Saturday, the Riverside Arts Market should be a must-visit. It’s also in a great area and within walking/rolling distance of the next couple attractions I’ll talk about, so you can easily spend a full day in this part of Jacksonville.
Admire art at the Cummer Museum of Art
I always enjoy visiting art museums when I travel, so I had to check out the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens in Jacksonville! It is the largest fine arts museum in northeast Florida and just a short walk/roll away from Riverside Arts Market.
The Cummer Museum has over 5,000 works of art with a variety of permanent and temporary exhibits to enjoy. You’ll see art all the way from 2100 BC to the 21st century, so plan at least a couple hours to see it all.
The entire museum is wheelchair accessible, including the Cummer Museum’s beautiful gardens. From the gardens, you’ll have a spectacular view of the St. Johns River. It was a gorgeous day when I visited and I spent about 45 minutes in the gardens, but I probably could’ve spent hours relaxing in these gardens & taking in the scenery.
The Cummer Museum is open Tuesday-Sunday every week and admission costs $20 per adult. However, on the first Saturday of each month, admission is free for everyone all day. You can also get free admission on the second and third Tuesday of each month from 4pm-9pm, and on the fourth Friday of each month from 4pm-9pm.
If rolling on a nice accessible path and taking in views of the St. Johns River sounds like a fun time, head to the Northbank Riverwalk. This path is two miles long and stretches from I-95 in Riverside to Berkman Plaza, so it’s a great attraction to experience in downtown Jacksonville.
I joined the Northbank Riverwalk below the Riverside Arts Market and absolutely loved rolling on it for about 30 minutes. The path was smooth for me in my powered wheelchair, and the path was also very wide, which was convenient. I did notice benches along the Riverwalk for anyone that might need to take a break.
Memorial Park is located in downtown Jacksonville as well and just a short 5 minute drive from Riverside Arts Market and the Cummer Museum. Whether you want to relax in the park, have a picnic, or check out a special event, this park is definitely worth visiting while in downtown Jacksonville.
As the name suggests, the park serves as a memorial for the 1,700+ people from Florida that died serving in World War I. Memorial Park opened in 1924 and has been a place to reflect for the past 100 years. While it is a somber reminder of everyone that died in World War I, there is also a lot of joy to be had within this park.
From Memorial Park, you can have spectacular views of St. Johns River. I really enjoyed rolling on the walkway within the park as well. It’s a loop that’s a quarter of a mile long, and it’s completely paved. This would be a perfect place to walk your dog on a nice day (and I saw many people doing just that).
Where to Eat in Jacksonville
Jacksonville has a huge food scene with some seriously delicious places to eat. I was able to dine at some incredible restaurants during my trip, but I want to share three of my favorites with you below. And please note that I really really really loved North Beach Fish Camp and would highly recommend it, but I am not including it below because I already mentioned it up above in the section about Beaches Town Center. Without further ado, here are three wheelchair accessible restaurants that you need to visit while in Jacksonville:
Jax Beach Brunch Haus
One of the easiest ways to my heart is a delicious brunch… and my oh my, I absolutely loved the Jax Beach Brunch Haus! It is open from 8am-2pm Wednesday-Monday every week, and they have something for every taste bud. Whether you’re craving breakfast or lunch, there are a plethora of options!
I had the “Split Open and Melt” meal, which was a poached egg over an avocado and topped with pico de gallo & cheddar cheese. It had fruit on the side, and everything was so good! My mom had the “Franco Fried Texan Toast” and she said it was the best French toast she’s ever eaten.
Next time I’m in Jacksonville, this will undoubtedly be the first place I go to. Honestly, I haven’t stopped thinking about it since I ate there. If you’re in the Jacksonville area, Brunch Haus is a must-visit!
Safe Harbor Seafood Restaurant
Anytime that I visit Florida, or any beach destination for that matter, I am on a mission to eat as much seafood as possible. While in Jacksonville, numerous people recommended that I try Safe Harbor Seafood Restaurant, so I decided to enjoy lunch there one day. I quickly discovered that there is no better place for fresh seafood in Jacksonville!
Safe Harbor Seafood Restaurant catches and prepares fresh seafood daily, and if you’re lucky, you may even see the boats offloading all of the seafood. The menu offers a variety of options, including fish tacos, sandwiches, fried fish baskets, and more. I opted for the Kona Bowl, which had fresh fish, brown rice, black beans, avocado, lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers with a sesame ginger dressing. It was delicious and I would certainly order it again.
Across the street from the restaurant is the Safe Harbor Market. In the market, you can purchase fresh seafood to cook at home (or in your vacation rental if you have one). Whether you want to dine in the restaurant or shop in the market, Safe Harbor is one of Jacksonville’s best seafood experiences!
River & Post
In downtown Jacksonville, you’ll find River & Post. This restaurant is open every Tuesday-Sunday for both lunch and dinner, but only serves dinner on Mondays. If you visit on the weekend though between 11am-4pm, River & Post has a yummy brunch.
River & Post is across the street from the Cummer Museum, so my mom, my friend Kelly, and I visited for brunch before going to the art museum. We ate in the main dining room on the first floor, but there is a rooftop lounge as well. And the rooftop lounge is wheelchair accessible with an elevator.
For brunch, there were a ton of options to choose from, including lobster benedict, bread pudding French toast, and shrimp & grits to name a few. I ultimately chose the blackened fish tacos and a blueberry mimosa, and everything was delicious. We had a really great dining experience at River & Post and I’d certainly recommend it!
Where to Stay: Margaritaville Jacksonville Beach Hotel
While in Jacksonville, I stayed at the tropical oasis that is the Margaritaville Jacksonville Beach Hotel. This hotel is right on the beach and just a short drive from all of Jacksonville’s attractions. I had a remarkable stay at this hotel and would absolutely stay here again!
My wheelchair accessible room was incredibly spacious. Without a doubt, it was one of the largest rooms I’ve ever stayed in. As soon as you enter the room, there is a living area with a sofa bed, a full-length mirror, a TV, and a small dining table. A mini fridge and a Keurig coffee maker were available as well.
In the bedroom area, there were two queen sized beds. Both beds had plenty of clearance underneath for a hoyer lift and the beds were a perfect height for self-transferring.
In the bathroom, there were grab bars by the toilet, a pull-under sink, and a roll-in shower. There was a very small rubber lip to get into the shower, but I had no issues with it in my shower chair. A fold-down bench seat was in the shower and a handheld shower wand. The bathroom really couldn’t have been better for my accessibility needs.
For the most part, I loved my wheelchair accessible room at Margaritaville Jacksonville Beach Hotel. The only part of it that wasn’t accessible was the terrace. There was a step to get onto the terrace from my room, but I mentioned it to the hotel staff and hopefully they’ll create an accessible way to enjoy the terrace soon.
The Margaritaville Jacksonville Beach Hotel also had a pool with an access lift, a coffee shop, and on-site restaurants. I dined at Landshark Bar & Grill and it was really good. I had some blackened shrimp and enjoyed it, but the menu has something for everyone.
If you are visiting the Jacksonville area and want to stay in a beautiful oceanfront resort, there is no better place than Margaritaville Jacksonville Beach Hotel. You can learn more about this hotel and book a stay of your own by clicking here.
My five days in Jacksonville were jam-packed with fun (and accessible) things to do! It became one of my favorite Florida destinations and should be a must-visit for anyone, no matter what their abilities are. I hope that this travel guide was helpful and you enjoy Jacksonville just as much as I did!
*Thank you to Visit Jacksonville for working with me on this trip and showing me the best of wheelchair accessible Jacksonville! While my experiences were complimentary, all opinions expressed are authentic and my own.